Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Wildland Resources

Committee Chair(s)

Juan J. Villalba


Jennifer W. MacAdam


Eric T. Thacker


Cattle are responsible for greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. In particular, the cow-calf phase of production accounts for approximately 80 percent of the total beef production system greenhouse gas emissions. Tannins are chemical compounds found in certain forages and they have the potential to help reduce these negative environmental impacts. Thus, given that the cow-calf phase often relies on feeding hay, feeding tannin-containing hays may represent a significant mitigation practice.

With my MS program, I sought to explore whether tannin-containing hays fed to mother cows and heifers influence methane and nitrogen emissions relative to feeding traditional legume and grass hays . I found that “non-traditional” hays such as cicer milkvetch and tannin-containing hays such as sainfoin, birdsfoot trefoil and small burnet can help mitigate greenhouse gas and nitrogen emissions produced from heifers and mature cows. Therefore, these hays could be used to feed cattle during the fall and winter to help create a more environmentally friendly cow-calf phase of beef production.



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Beef Science Commons